“It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy; power is enough.”
—Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 6th Secretary General of the United Nations, 1999
“The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis….. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable.”
–From Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, 2005
The 1983 documentary film “Anybody’s Son Will Do” opened many an eye and consciousness to the art and practice used in military boot camps for turning youths barely beyond childhood into troops who will kill on command. Rapid-fire disorientation begins immediately, and in ensuring weeks unrelenting mental assault crushes individuality, hammers strict conformity into young psyches, and counters any religious and ethical standards that might hamper the business of organized mass slaughter. Following the sapping of the multiple personas received, relatively uniform souls at ease with the extermination of humans are built according to military standards and specifications.
Given that a squeamish army is worthless for war, the more hatred that can inflame soldiers — the greater the distance from any sense of common humanity with an “other” that can be generated — is all to the good from a military point of view. As Martin Smith wrote, “In order for the military to avoid feelings of solidarity between their soldiers and the ‘enemy’, it has developed a tried and true method of conditioning enlistees to kill efficiently and, also, and most importantly for success, to dehumanize an adversary.” So, yesteryears’s subhuman “gooks” have now morphed into today’s “sand niggers”. Such attitudes can endure to become integrated into larger society. Marine general James Mattis, now 67 and reportedly the most revered Marine of recent memory, publicly (to applause) declared with reference to Afghan men, “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway, so it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them … It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people”. The title of the report in Forbes, linked as shown, declares that such a man “could add a manly dose to American culture.”
Two points: Our Brave Warriors must be convinced that, whatever carnage they are ordered to commit (and they must carry out orders; it’s not a choice issue) that they are doing upstanding, patriotic work by protecting American Values At Home And Abroad. The second point: As it is in boot camp, so it is across the entire USofA.
As the American Empire, the world’s “only super power” (for the time being) has sprawled across the planet, ignoring international laws that earlier US Governments had been key in creating; replacing at will established governments; bombing and droning civilian populations; insulting and crushing ancient cultures; killing, maiming and displacing millions as they go, directly or by proxy; assassinating figures of choice; bribing governments and driving nations into debt so as to commandeer resources through privatization; threatening anyone or any nation in defiance of US Foreign Policy, American citizens must be made to believe, in their hearts and with no shadow of doubt, that America exists as a Shining City On A Hill for the rest of the world. Maintaining this absurd myth is the prime aim and function of Pentagon propagandists, corporate-owned media personalities and war-mongering politicians who collect ungodly amounts of cash from the defense industry.
For every US soldier killed in the Middle East, thousands of “insurgents” have been exterminated. When civilians — collateral damage — are included, the “kill ratio” would be immense. Whatever it is, every fatality “over there”, whether fighter or mother or child, leaves extended family, anguished and seething, with a concept of the United States being firmly established in the lineage for generations to come.
Just as every ex-soldier has a moral obligation to cleanse the soul of the kill instinct, and while growing into a reflective adulthood to search out the uncomfortable truths about why the government sends its youth on such missions, so do 300 million Americans have a responsibility to awaken from the ridiculous, insidious, carefully-crafted dream world of “American Exceptionalism” and the ludicrous claim that the World wants the USA as police and protector. The anguish we have created among our fellow humans with actions rather like a My lai Massacre gone viral, has created within much of the collective human breast a rage so deep, so intense, that it could take generations for Americans to live it down. The fact that Germans born long after the collapse of the Third Reich have been forced to live with the stench of Holocaust and military atrocity smeared onto their identities, is a lesson contemporary Americans would do well to understand and to take to heart.